Clubs get set to throw open their doors as RBS RugbyForce 2014 registration opens

Scotland’s clubs will once more have the opportunity to get their season off to a flying start when RBS RugbyForce 2014 takes place on the weekend of Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 August.

Matt Scott, Tim Visser, David Denton and Chris Paterson launch RugbyForce 2014

A key component of the club support programme put in place by Royal Bank of Scotland, RBS RugbyForce provides practical, promotional and financial assistance to help clubs throw open their doors and put on events designed to showcase their offering. The aim is to retain and attract players, supporters, members, volunteers and sponsors for the campaign ahead, helping cement clubs’ position as hubs for their local community.

A record number of Scottish clubs (149) signed up to take part last year, and registration for RBS RugbyForce 2014 is now open. Clubs have until Friday 30 May to register via www.rbs.co.uk/scottishrugby, with all clubs who signed up in 2013 being contacted directly with details of how to get involved.

Even if clubs have taken part in RBS RugbyForce in previous years, they still need to register this year to let us know they’re planning an event. All clubs who register will receive £250 towards event materials, as well as a banner, poster and promotional support to get the word out about their event.

Clubs can choose which of Saturday 9 or Sunday 10 August suits them best, and have the option of selecting an alternative date if neither is convenient.

Clubs who opt for Saturday 9 August will be in with a chance of welcoming a Scotland player along on the day. A host of internationals will once more be out and about up and down the country, rolling up their sleeves and helping at events. When they register, clubs will be invited to detail how a Scotland player appearance would add value to their event, with a panel from Royal Bank of Scotland and Scottish Rugby selecting the best 10 entries and allocating players.

In previous years, the focus of RBS RugbyForce has been on DIY improvements to facilities ahead of the new season, but many clubs have embraced a broader vision, seeking to generate fresh interest with come and try touch rugby sessions, family BBQs and discos as well as summer fair days with stalls and challenges.

Another popular format for an RBS RugbyForce event is to run a minis/midis tournament and club BBQ either side of the senior team’s pre-season friendly. Anything that gets people together and motivated before the kick-off to the new campaign.

Speaking at today’s launch at Boroughmuir RFC, Jamie Hogg, business community partner at Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “Rugby clubs sit at the heart of many communities in Scotland, and we’re committed to helping them become ever more sustainable small businesses.

“RBS RugbyForce is a great way for clubs to demonstrate what they have to offer to many different groups in the community. As well as core rugby players and supporters, that could be families looking for a welcoming place to socialise and allow their children to take part in sport, or local businesses who need a venue for meetings and functions.

We at Royal Bank of Scotland are proud to live and work in these same communities, and we look forward to once again supporting clubs all across the country as they begin the new season with a bang through RBS RugbyForce.”

Scotland centre Matt Scott has seen first-hand what RBS RugbyForce is all about. He said: “I was lucky enough to be part of Montrose’s RBS RugbyForce event last year, and it was a really uplifting experience. There was something for everyone, with an afternoon of games and training drills for the younger players while the adults got stuck into jobs around the clubhouse before everyone came together for a barbecue and pictures with the RBS 6 Nations Trophy.

“Montrose had made a big effort to involve people in the local area who hadn’t been part of the club before, and they were delighted with the number of new faces who turned out. It’s all about showing people what they can get out of being involved, and keeping those people on board in the season to come.”

Nick Rennie, Scottish Rugby’s head of clubs and schools, said: “RBS Rugby Force is a great way for clubs to mark the start of the new season, not only with a good day socially where anyone and everyone can get involved, but also a terrific opportunity for some essential maintenance to be undertaken at clubs’ facilities.

“People roll up their sleeves, all across the country and the clubs that have really embraced what the day is all about will once again have help from some familiar faces from the ranks of the Scotland international set-up.

We are grateful to RBS for the support they provide in order for RugbyForce to go ahead, it gives all the clubs involved the chance to show the local community what work they undertake within their area.

“The programme is also a great way for the clubs to raise their profile within their area, as well as hopefully encouraging new members, playing or social, into the game.”

To register for RBS RugbyForce 2014, clubs must be affiliated with the Scottish Rugby Union. For full information and to register, head to www.rbs.co.uk/scottishrugby. Registration deadline: Friday 30 May. For any registration queries, clubs should email: rbs.rugby@rbs.co.uk.